Wednesday, September 30, 2009

BOOTCAMP for Novelists Online October Class

October BOOTCAMP for Novelists Online course begin October 4.
Register at
Enrollment for these courses is open until October 12.

October 4 — October 31
With Connie Flynn

You can have great characters, excellent plots,and zingy dialogue but if you don't write the story with brevity and clarity and evocative words you'll lose readers by page three. This course covers the writing habits that must be developed to keep your stories engaging.

Need more info? Contact Connie $22

With Linda Style

Pacing isn't all about speed. It's also about moving readers along. And even more. Pacing has many facets and involves everything from the tone of your book to the language you use. In this class you'll learn the ins and outs of pacing from story to scene to paragraph to sentence and how to use pacing to benefit your story.

Need more info? Contact Linda $22

With Connie Flynn

Structuring scenes for maximum impact is the third pillar of story structure. You'll leave this course knowing where and when to place a scene and how to connect each scene for ease of flow and maximum impact.

Need more info? Contact Connie $25

With Linda Style

Pro writers know how to keep each scene simmering with expectation by highlighting external situations and internal conflict to create high drama. This course covers just that topic and you'll never again wonder what to do with that boring but necessary scene.

Need more info? Contact Linda $25

To register for courses or get more details go to BOOTCAMP for Novelists Online

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

FOR WRITERS: Using Twitter to link your blog posts!

Would you like to post one announcement on your blog and have it sent out to (almost) all of your social networks? Using Twitter is a good way to do so without giving away the passwords to your email accounts. There are sites that advertise linking your networks as a service but they require your password to do so—I urge you to protect your passwords! This process may be a bit more time-consuming, but it will save you hours of cross-posting. (Please note that I use for my personal blog, I assume these directions will also work on other blogs like WordPress, but I don’t have personal experience with those.)


First, sign up for Twitter. Here’s my Twitter URL:
Just click the “Join Today” button on my page. Follow the directions for setting up a profile, it’s quick and easy.

Now go to: Click on “Sign in with OpenID” just below the Login button. A new window will open, allowing you to sign in with your Google, Yahoo, etc. accounts (sign in to those accounts first before going to TwitterFeed for quick access—your password will stay hidden either way). You can now add your blog feed to Twitter. Please note that this is different than the regular URL for your blog. Mine is: If you’re not sure how to get your blog feed URL, click the help button on Twitterfeed, and they have directions on how to get your feed (helpful hint: add the gadget “subscribe to this blog” to your blog and the atom feed icon will post for you to click to get the URL feed for your blog.)

Your blog entries will now post to your Twitter page, using the first few words and a tinyURL (which is a link back to your blog’s entire post).


Both of these network sites are similar in the way they post your Twitter entries by using Applications (Apps). Sign in to your Facebook and/or Myspace Account and then:

On Facebook, look on the very bottom of the left hand side of your home page and click on Applications. Click on “Browse more applications”. In the “search apps” box, type in Twitter, hit the “enter” key on your keyboard. Click on the Twitter by Twitter app, and follow the directions to enter your blog link. When activated, your tweets will now post on the very top of your profile page and in your news feed.

On Myspace, at the top of your home page, mouse over the “More” tab, and click on “Apps Gallery” from the drop-down menu. On the right hand side there is a “Search Apps”. Type in Twitter, hit “search”. Choose the “iTwitter” app and follow the directions. A box will now appear on your Myspace profile page with your latest tweets.


So basically, you now have your blog feeding to your Twitter account, and your Twitter account feeding to your Myspace and Facebook sites. If you are a member of any networks on ning (BookPlace, Fans of Romance Novels, Readers & Writers of Distinction Fiction, etc.) your blog can be fed directly to your profile pages by clicking the RSS FEED on the left hand side of the page, and entering your Blogger URL. You don’t need a Twitter account for this.

I hope you found this helpful. If you’d like to share any of your own tips for linking your posts, please feel free to comment!

Until Next Time,

Monday, September 28, 2009

And the winner is......

Congratulations, Michelle!
You just won a free signed copy of Cara Putman's book.

Please contact Kim at kwatters21 (at) (no spaces) to claim your prize.

Thanks for stopping by.
Sorry for the late posting. My son is down with the flu!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Love Happens

Love Happens
Spoiler Alert: I will give away some of the best scenes.

While watching movies, I often look for the lessons that can be applied to writing novels. This week, I watched Love Happens with Jennifer Aniston. I was hesitant to see it because of the bad review I heard on the radio, but it turned out to be quite entertaining.

All romances need a strong conflict keeping the hero and heroine apart. The conflict between the hero and heroine was strong. He is still emotionally distraught over the loss of his wife and the role he played in her death. It is impossible for the hero to love again unless he puts her death behind him.

Transitions need to be done well in both movies and novels. In this case, most were seemless, but there was one exception. Near the beginning of the movie, the heroine is in the men’s room confronting the hero. She tells him she would not go out with him and why. In the next scene, she receives flowers and in the following scene, she walks into the restaurant to meet him as if they never had the argument. That transition was jolting. It wasn’t true to her character, in my opinion. She could have given him all the reasons she wasn’t going to meet him, followed by the one pivotal reason she decided to show up. Would have been more true to the character.

On the other hand, the humor was well written and executed. Often times you can come up with funny scenes if you write down what would be the worst, most inappropriate act someone could do at that moment. In this movie, one mourner made cookies with her husband’s ashes because he enjoyed them so much in life. Another woman admitted she had made a mold of her husband’s…private parts before he died so they could still have fun after his death. Later, our motivational speaker/hero hides under his in-laws table. Appears against character, but in this case is meant to be humorous and does in fact come off as funny.

Overall, I found the humor a needed break from the heavy emotional scenes brought on by most of the characters dealing with the loss of a loved one. Also, the hero and heroine were well suited for each other, the conflict was believable, and the scenes held my interest.

I hope you will find a movie to analyze and share your findings. We enjoy hearing from you.

Until next time,
Happy Writing,
Tina LaVon

Friday, September 25, 2009

Interview with Cara Putman

I’d like to welcome our guest today, Cara Putman. It’s a pleasure having you come visit us at Much Cheaper Than Therapy, where chocolate is plentiful and advice is free. So grab some chocolate and a lounge chair. Your therapy session has begun.

Thanks so much for having me. I see you have my favorite kind right there. Mind if I help myself to a truffle?

Absolutely! We aim to please.

I understand you have a new release out called Trial by Fire. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book?

The blurb say it best. Her mother's house was first. Then her brother's. County prosecutor Tricia Jamison is sure she's next on the arsonist's list. But who is after her family? And why does every fire throw her in Noah Brust's path? Noah can't forgive Tricia. Her failure to protect him on the stand the previous year meant his father's reputation was ruined.

Trial by Fire is a very interesting title. How did you arrive at that name?

The working title was Deadly Judgment, but as my editor and I talked about it, we knew it needed something that reflected the book a bit better. She came up with Trial by Fire, which is perfect because the heroine is an attorney, trials play a role, and an arsonist is hunting her.

Would you describe your book as a cozy, mystery, suspense, or thriller?

This book is definitely romantic suspense. So readers who love a romance will enjoy it, but it also has a strong ticking clock, woman in jeopardy feel. It’s the kind of book I love to read.

What made you decide to write in this genre?

Primarily the fact that I love reading in this genre. If I have a stack of books, all from authors I like, but one is suspense – that’s the book I’ll pick up first. I love the twists, turns, and pacing of well-written suspense.

Where did you get your idea for this particular book?

The heroine is a strong supporting character in the first book, Deadly Exposure, and I knew she wanted her own story. Then I played with ways that her career as an attorney could place her in harm’s way – but in a manner she’d never anticipate.

Do you have all the key suspense/mystery elements thought out before you begin writing?

I generally know the outlines of a plot, generally know the hero, heroine, and the bad guy. Then as I write, new thoughts and twists develop. That’s what makes it such a fun process.

Did you have to do a lot of research for the book? What are your favorite research books or sites?

Each book requires research. For this one, I had to research the setting since I hadn’t been to some of the buildings in Lincoln, NE. I also had to investigate how arson is investigated. I found a NOVA video on a serial arsonist which was hugely helpful. Then I also found websites for the organizations that train fire investigators. I also interviewed a friend who is a fire investigator, and he was wonderfully helpful to make sure my research was accurate.

Which character did you like writing about the most, and why?

I like Noah, the hero. I already knew Tricia pretty well, but her story took a turn I hadn’t anticipated, and writing Noah’s response was such fun. It allowed him to reflect Christ’s love in a way I hadn’t anticipated.

Tell us about how you develop your characters. Do you create character sheets, do interviews, that sort of thing? How does your research affect your character development?

I develop my characters through a combination of what you mentioned above. I’ll start with a sheet, then move to interviews, then use a tool Jeff Gerke has developed. And as I research, what I learn will impact how the characters may respond. It’s a very organic and fluid process. Fortunately, there are great resources available to help push writers when their characters quit talking or get predictable.

Do you have any authors that inspired you?

Colleen Coble has been a fabulous mentor. Brandilyn Collins mentored me from a distance through her fabulous blog Forensics and Faith. These women work hard to improve with each book and keep me guessing. Exactly what I want to do with my writing.

What do you feel is the most effective promotion you have done for your book?

Great question. I think appearing on blogs like yours helps because people who read your blog might not otherwise learn about my books. So thanks for your help spreading the word!

What do we have to look forward next?

I’m beginning a book that will release in July 2010 – I’m very excited because this series will marry my love for World War Two with my love of suspense! Hollywood, stars, and murder oh my!

Thanks, Cara!

To celebrate her book release, Cara is offering a free book of Trial by Fire to one lucky commenter on today's blog. (please check the blog Monday night to see who won. Chances of winning determined by the number of entries.)

She will be around all day today. I'm sure some of you have questions or comments for her, so please ask away...

Check out author’s website at:


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

"Kills, Chills and Thrills: A Guide to Writing Thriller Novels"

October 2-30, 2009
"Kills, Chills and Thrills: A Guide to Writing Thriller Novels"
by CJ Lyons

Thrillers are hot! Look at any bestseller list and you'll find an overwhelming number of thriller novels. What makes them different from other genres? How can you use thriller techniques to make your own novels compelling, no matter the genre? And where the heck do writers come up with those ideas? CJ Lyons will dissect several popular thrillers as examples, offering insights from bestselling novelists such as David Morrell, Robin Cook, Carla Neggers, Robert Gregory Browne, JoAnn Ross, and Lisa Gardner. By the conclusion, you'll have all the tools necessary to craft a compelling thrill-ride of your own!

Topics include:
* What makes a thriller a thriller?
* Tricks of the trade: research
* The quirks of thriller characters
* World building, plotting and pacing
* Theme: intersection of plot and character
* Hooks & twists, and series vs. stand-alone
* Tips from reviewers who specialize in crime fiction

Award-winning author CJ Lyons is a physician trained in Pediatric Emergency Medicine. She has assisted police and prosecutors with cases involving child abuse, rape, homicide and Munchausen by Proxy; and has worked in several trauma centers, on the Navajo reservation, as a crisis counselor and victim's advocate, as well as a flight physician for Life Flight. Her debut medical suspense novel, LIFELINES, was released by Berkley in April, 2008.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The fall equinox - September 22, 2009

Today is the equinox. The autumnal equinox, to be precise. Astronomically-speaking, the equinox is more than just a box marked on a calendar or the start to fall.

Astronomers define the autumnal (fall) equinox as the moment when the Sun crosses the Celestial Equator, heading from the north to the south. And what is the Celestial Equator? It’s just the projection of the Earth’s equator onto the heavens. As the Earth rotates, the Celestial Equator appears as the midpoint of the sky’s motion. (taken from New York City Astronomy)

Read the rest at:
The fall equinox - September 22, 2009

Posted using ShareThis

Monday, September 21, 2009

And The Winner Is...

Congratulations, Mari!
You just won a free signed copy of Nicola Marsh's book Two Weeks in the Magnate's Bed.

Please contact Kim at kwatters21 (at) (no spaces) to claim your prize.

Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Avoiding The Info Dump


This past weekend, I watched Whiteout. It was an action-packed suspense. Although there wasn’t enough emotion or romance for my taste, it was a great example of how to build in back story. New writers – and even some veterans – are tempted to dump the hero/heroines past into a prologue or first chapter. What a writer should do is weave bits here and there throughout the first chapters to build interest. As a reader, we learn there was a traumatic event that affected the hero/heroine, but we don’t know exactly what happened. We want to know, and will keep reading to discover the secret.

In the movie, the heroine observes the battered body of someone who fell from a great height. This triggers a memory of seeing this type of damage before – during her traumatic past. The movie only gives us a small flashback of a minute or two of the event, which would take maybe a paragraph in your book. We know something happened, but still don’t know what yet. The trigger is important. Your hero/heroine needs a reason to reflect on the traumatic past. Several times throughout the first quarter of the movie, the heroine thinks about small segments of this traumatic event. Finally, the possible love interest asks her what happened and through dialogue we learn the secret – a great way of revealing past history in our books as well.

Whiteout is also a great example of unexpected twists and turns that will keep you on the edge of your seat. Plus, how to set up character development. We learn her confidence was shaken when she missed the clues that someone she trusted had gone bad, so we know she must see the clues this time.

The suspense alone makes this movie worth seeing.

Until next week,
Happy Writing,
Tina Lavon

Friday, September 18, 2009

Interview with Nicola Marsh

I’d like to welcome our guest today, Harlequin Mills and Boon author Nicola Marsh. It’s a pleasure having you come visit us at Much Cheaper Than Therapy, where chocolate is plentiful and advice is free. So grab some chocolate and a lounge chair. Your therapy session has begun.

I understand you have 2 new releases out this month: A TRIP WITH THE TYCOON (Harlequin Romance) & TWO WEEKS IN THE MAGNATE’S BED (Harlequin Presents). Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new books?

‘A Trip with the Tycoon’ is set in exotic India. The heroine, Tamara, is trying to rebuild her life after the death of her abusive husband a year earlier, and is exploring her heritage. Her story takes place on the luxurious Palace on Wheels train through Rajasthan, and in Goa too.

‘Two Weeks in the Magnate’s Bed’ is set on a cruise ship in the South Pacific. A shy, geeky, museum curator meets a sexy undercover sailor. Fun!
Both books have very interesting titles. How did you arrive at them?
Harlequin Mills and Boon have a very astute marketing department who choose titles with catchy ‘hooks’ in them. Tycoons, billionaires, babies, bride, are all popular. Both titles were chosen by my publisher.

What made you decide to write in this genre?

I love reading romance so it seemed natural to write what I love.

Are you a plotter or a pantser and how did it affect the writing of these books?

I’m a real mix of both now. When I have an idea, I like to flesh out the main characters and storyline with a 3-4 page outline. From there, I start writing the story and that’s when I’m a total ‘pantser’. If I ever get stuck, I resort to trusty pen and paper to plot, with a sentence or two to sum up what needs to happen in the rest of the book.

Did you have to do a lot of research for the books? What are your favorite research books or sites?

I did a lot of research for the Indian book, scouring websites on India, including sites for the fabulous food in the book. For the cruise book, I was lucky enough to take several cruises years ago so pretty much went from memory.

Research is individual to each book, I use Google a lot!

Where did you get your idea for these particular books?

Harlequin asked me to set ‘A Trip with the Tycoon’ in India and I wanted to bring the country alive. So rather than set it in one city, I chose the luxurious train journey, which visits cities
like Jaipur, Udaipur and Agra (home of the Taj Mahal.)

Having a half-Indian, half-Australian heroine who wants to explore her heritage was something I’ve wanted to write for a while, so I was rapt to get the opportunity with this book.

Which character did you like writing about the most, and why?

Tamara, the heroine in ‘A Trip with the Tycoon’, is emotionally vulnerable. She’s had it rough the last few years, dealt was several traumas, and I loved writing about a woman who rises above her past and triumphs.

Tell us about how you develop your characters. Do you create character sheets, do interviews, that sort of thing? How does your research affect your character development?

I’ve tried various methods with different books. When I first started writing I used character sheets, then tried character interviews for a book or two, but these days like to discover my characters as I go along.

Do you have any authors that inspired you?

I have several authors I find inspiring to read: Barbara Samuel and Susan Elizabeth Phillips. Both bring a unique richness to their characters that leaves me turning pages at a frantic pace.

What do you feel is the most effective promotion you have done for your book?

I currently have a free online read available at eharlequin. ONE INDIAN SUMMER is a prequel to A TRIP WITH THE TYCOON, and is the story of how Tamara’s parents met.
Set in Goa, the online read gives readers a taste of India, hopefully enough of a sampler to go buy the book!

What do we have to look forward next?

My next release is MARRIAGE: FOR BUSINESS OR PLEASURE?, a Harlequin M&B Modern Heat out in the UK in December, and the USA as a Harlequin Presents in Feb 2010. It’s a marriage of convenience story between reunited lovers, set in cosmopolitan Noosa, on Australia’s far north coast. The story packs plenty of heat!

Thanks, Nicola!

To celebrate her book releases, Nicola is offering a free signed copy of TWO WEEKS IN THE MAGNATE’S BED to one lucky commenter on today's blog. She will be around all day today. I'm sure some of you have questions or comments for her, so please ask away...

Nicola worked as a physiotherapist for thirteen years before she tired of saying "I'm going to write a book one day" and actually did it. She started writing late 2001 and found once she started she couldn't stop!

The inspiration for her first novel, THE TYCOON'S DATING DEAL, came from a magazine article on speed-dating and she sold this book in May 2003. It won the CataRomance Reviewers' Choice Award for Best Harlequin Romance 2004.

Nicola currently writes for Harlequin Mills and Boon Romance and Modern Heat/Presents series, has published 21 books and sold over 1.5 million copies worldwide.

She's a Bookscan and Waldenbooks bestseller, has finalled in several awards including the prestigious HOLT (Honoring Outstanding Literary Talent), Booksellers' Best, Golden Quill, Laurel Wreath, More than Magic and won several CataRomance Reviewers' Choice Awards.

Check out author’s website at

Buy: Two Weeks in the Magnate’s Bed

A Trip with the Tycoon

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Imagination Quote

Far away in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow where they lead.

Louisa May Alcott

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Master Class: Digging Deep into the EDITS System

October 4-17 & 18-31, 2009
MASTER CLASS: "Digging Deep into the EDITS System" (Part 1 & 2)
by Margie Lawson

Prerequisite: Must have completed "Deep Editing: The EDITS System, Rhetorical Devices and More"

Part 1 of DIGGING DEEP covers
* The big picture and the nuances of the EDITS system
* Writing emotion for visceral impact
* Streaming emotion for your genre and style
* Editing patterns and voids
* Scene strategies: balancing and tracking
* Tension, conflict, and the EDITS system

Part 2 provides time to analyze your strengths and work on the areas you need to strengthen, per EDITS category. Using the Digging Deep worksheet, Anchor and Application, you'll dig deep into Diagnose and Treat while obtaining feedback from Margie. Applying the EDITS System, you'll know WHAT editing you need to do WHERE, WHY you need to edit that passage, and HOW (multiple options that fit your writing style) to make that passage stronger.

Margie Lawson -- psychologist, writer and international presenter -- applied her pyschological expertise to analyze hundreds of novels and determine what made them bestsellers. She has developed innovative innovative editing systems and dozens of deep editing techniques. Margie teaches writers how to edit for psychological power, how to hook the reader viscerally, how to write page-turners. Read about her contests, three-day Immersion Master Classes, newsletter, online courses, Deep Editing Analyses and presentation schedule at

Monday, September 14, 2009

And The Winner Is...

Congratulations, Carolyn M! You just won a free copy of Kate Austin's book The Nymph.

Please contact Kim at kwatters21 (at) (no spaces) to claim your prize.

Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Creating Unforgettable Characters

Creating Unforgettable Characters

Yesterday, I watched All About Steve, the new Sandra Bullock comedy. Her character, Mary, is both fun and unforgettable.

One secret to creating unforgettable characters is to twist typical stereotypes. Mary is extremely intelligent. She makes crossword puzzles for the newspaper. You would think she should be shy and wear frumpy clothes with thick glasses, etc. Instead, they made her act like one of the hyper air-head friends from Legally Blonde. She constantly gets excited and jumps around.

No frumpy clothes for this girl either. They put her in long red boots and a shag haircut. Reminds me of my blue Go-Go boots and shag haircut of the 70s.

Add talking nonstop, completely uninhibited, with a big heart and you have a fun, unforgettable character.

So…the next time you are creating a character ask yourself, “What would most people assume this character would be like?” Then twist it. Give your character unexpected traits and he/she could become unforgettable.

Until next week,
Happy Writing,
Tina LaVon

Friday, September 11, 2009

Interview with Kate Austin

I’d like to welcome our guest today, Kate Austin. It’s a pleasure having you come visit us at Much Cheaper Than Therapy, where chocolate is plentiful and advice is free. So grab some chocolate and a lounge chair. Your therapy session has begun.

I understand you have a new release out called The Nymph (part of The Pleasure Club series). Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book?

It’s a first for me – a short piece of erotica in a story line already established – the Pleasure Club is a place where fantasy meets reality. Professor Geoffrey Jones, noted Marlowe scholar, knows everything about pleasuring a nymph but nothing about real women. So he asks The Pleasure Club to find him a nymph so he can test his fantasy skills before he takes them out into the real world. Calliope has wanted Geoffrey for years and when The Pleasure Club comes to the university looking for an expert in nymphs, they end up in her office. She's going to do whatever it takes to make sure that Professor Geoffrey Jones never forgets their night together.

The Nymph is a very interesting title. How did you arrive at that name?

My friend Anna Leigh Keaton (who thought up the series and suggested I might write something for it) were talking about this idea and I came up with a few ideas – The Nymph was the first idea, perhaps because I was thinking of Christopher Marlowe at the time. And then there was The Nun – and that story is out in September.
What made you decide to write in this genre? I was thinking about the five senses and how they could be used fully in a story – and erotica (or erotic romance) seemed to be the perfect place to put this into practice.

Are you a plotter or a pantser and how did it affect the writing of this book?

I’m definitely a fogwalker. I generally start a book with a single line or phrase – sometimes the title, sometimes the first line of the book. And then I start off into the fog, not knowing what the next sentence will be, let alone the next chapter. Because I’ve been writing this way for a very long time, I have a lot of faith in the process and I just keep on going. One of the ways that works for me is each day to read out loud what I wrote the day before and then just keep writing – generally the first two or three sentences each day are me talking out loud, just continuing on from the day before. For this story, I had the title to begin with and then Geoffrey Jones appeared on the page. I needed a nymph – and she came into being a few paragraphs into the story. I NEVER think about what’s next – I’m scared it’s going to ruin something that’s worked for me for years.

Did you have to do a lot of research for the book? What are your favorite research books or sites?

I had to do a little research for this story – but mostly it was around Greek myths and nymphs. I really needed a name for the heroine and that’s what I looked at. Research for me is generally on very specific things like names or dates. I have a lot of data in my head (I read a book a day and have done so for many, many years – so I have a lot of information floating around in there) and that gives me the feel for the place or the person or the time. I’m much more about how things feel than I am about specific details.

Where did you get your idea for this particular book?

As I said, Anna Leigh Keaton had written a couple of stories for the Pleasure Club series and I’d read those and liked them. So we brainstormed a couple of titles – most of the other stories were women seeking their fantasy evening and I wanted to try writing it from the point of view of a man seeking a fantasy – where would that lead me?

Which character did you like writing about the most, and why?

I loved Professor Jones (and no, until I typed that right this minute, I didn’t even think of Indiana Jones) and the way he was so discombobulated about himself and his relationships with women. I liked the fact that he knew everything about nymphs but nothing about real women and wanted to put him in a situation where he could combine the two things and find out what happened.

Tell us about how you develop your characters. Do you create character sheets, do interviews, that sort of thing? How does your research affect your character development?

I develop my characters basically the same way I write – I just start writing. But I do, occasionally, put a few things on paper if I’ve got a complicated plot line. I’m working on a book now that spans 1910-1952 and two main female characters. I need to keep track of where and when they are at any given time so I’ve written that down so I don’t get too confused. And my research is almost all things I’ve read. So for the early part of this complicated book, I remember all the books I’ve read either set in the time period or written in the time period – it’s about the feel for me, not the details. And because I love poetry, I also read poetry written in the time period or place – it gives me a feel for the language, I think.

Do you have any authors that inspired you?

Oh, dozens and dozens. I started out writing literary short stories so people like Alice Munro and Raymond Carver were definitely inspirational to me. Writers like Michael Ondaatje and Marquez (because I love magic realism). Science fiction/fantasy writers Neil Gaiman and William Gibson – I love their worlds and their characters. Alice Hoffman and Barbara Kingsolver – that magic realism and women’s fiction combination just blows me away. Shakespeare – mostly The Tempest, which I’m passionate about. In fact, my muse is named Prospero, though she’s a woman. And poetry – always poetry.

What do you feel is the most effective promotion you have done for your book?

I’ve just started using Facebook so we’ll see how that goes. I have a newsletter I send out, my website, my own blogs and guest blogging. My publisher – Cobblestone Press – sends out a huge whack of review copies and those are definitely a way to get the word out. I’m still working on a long-term promotional strategy – anybody got any great ideas?

What do we have to look forward next?

Another story in the Pleasure Club series – The Nun – which will be out in September. And a novella in a new series called The Demon Next Door – this one is about the lord of the demons and how he becomes human – it’s a lot of fun, a romantic erotic suspense, I’d call it. It’ll be available in October.

Thanks, Kate!

To celebrate her book release, Kate is offering a free ebook of The Nymph to one lucky commenter on today's blog. She will be around all day today. I'm sure some of you have questions or comments for her, so please ask away...

Check out author’s website at

Buy The Nymph at

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Sapphire Blue Publishing Contest

Sapphire Blue Publishing, LLC. celebrates their 1st year anniversary by thanking their amazing readership, authors, editors, cover artists and all the SBP team for an exciting and productive first year. The electronic publishing company has had an exciting journey, which has been both rewarding and breathtaking.

In today's challenging economy we have spent this last year offering:

• a thrilling portfolio of multi-genre books that enchant readers,

• superior customer service,

• and, a place for authors to write what is in their hearts.

This Arizona born company is proud to have been nominated in 2008 as publisher of the year. This is a huge achievement for a small press company just starting out in this industry. In addition, Sapphire Blue Publishing has stayed true to their goal of being environmentally friendly and green by offering only electronic books.

In the future of SBP will continue to:

• look toward the future of new document technology,
• build a solid company based on innovative goals,
• educate readers about the environmental impact of e-books versus print books,
• deliver more great books that tantalize, thrill, and enchant,
• and, continue to deliver our personalized attention for readers and authors.

Come and celebrate with us and enter our contest for a new Amazon kindle.

TO ENTER is easy -

Just register and sign up for our newsletter to be eligible (If you've signed up previously you are eligible).

The contest will end on September 15, 2009. The winner will be notified by email and will also be announced on our site.


Special note: SBP employees/contractors, or currently contracted SBP authors are not eligible.

The Kindle will be given in the form of an Amazon gift certificate (price+tax). This certificate can then be redeemed for an Amazon Kindle.

Electronic books available on the Sapphire Blue website can be read on the Kindle. **Any format can be emailed through Whispernet and Amazon will convert and send the updated file to yourKindle device.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Happiness Quote

When one door of happiness closes, another opens, but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one that has been opened for us.

Helen Keller

Monday, September 7, 2009

And The Winner Is...

Congratulations, Emmanuelle! You just won a free signed copy of Blythe Gifford's book In The Master's Bed.

Please contact Kim at kwatters21 (at) (no spaces) to claim your prize.

Thanks for stopping by.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Vote for Kim!

Congratulations, Kim!

Her book, Scales of Love,
not only received a rating of 5 out of 5 books, but it is also up for
Best Book at

Long and Short Reviews.

She can use your support. Please go to the following site and vote for her! I'm heading there myself as soon as I post this blog.

Voting runs from today, Saturday, Sept 5th, through Sunday, Sept. 6th.

More about Scales of Love.

Blurb: All Rachel Haskin wants is one good man who will accept her and her menagerie of unusual and cold-blooded pets. When her cousin sets her up on a blind date, will her ideal for perfect husband material be fulfilled by Seth Armstrong, or will he just be another one date catastrophe in the making?

You can read more about Kim and her books at

And of course she is the writer who does all of our author and agent interviews right here at

Much Cheaper Than Therapy.

Have an awesome holiday weekend!

Tina LaVon

Friday, September 4, 2009

Interview with Blythe Gifford

I’d like to welcome our guest today, Blythe Gifford. It’s a pleasure having you come visit us at Much Cheaper Than Therapy, where chocolate is plentiful and advice is free. So grab some chocolate and a lounge chair. Your therapy session has begun.

Blythe: I’m all about the chocolate, so thanks!

You're welcome. We aim to please our guests. I understand you have a new release out called IN The MASTER’S BED. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book?

Blythe: IN The MASTER’s BED is a spinoff of The HARLOT’S DAUGHTER. It’s my fourth medieval romance from Harlequin and my third story revolving around a character born on the wrong side of the royal blanket. The heroine is inspired by a real person, the daughter of King Edward III of England and his notorious mistress. The story begins when the heroine runs away from home, disguised as a boy, in order to study at the university. There, hidden among men in a place where women are forbidden, she meets a man who, for the first time, makes her want to be a woman. But what will happen when he discovers her secret and she’s discovered IN The MASTER’S BED?

IN The MASTER’S BED is a very interesting title. How did you arrive at that name?

Blythe: I must give credit to my editor for the title. The hero is a “master” at Cambridge University, so the bed is his.

What made you decide to write in this genre?

Blythe: I’ve always loved historical romance, so when I was swept up in a corporate layoff many years ago, I decided it was time to tackle that dream. I’ve been interested in the fourteenth century and royal bastards since I read Anya Seton’s Katherine in junior high, so it was natural to begin there.

Where did you get your idea for this particular book?

Blythe: Those who read The HARLOT’S DAUGHTER (though you don’t need to have read it to enjoy this story) may recall that the harlot’s other daughter, Jane, was already what we would call a “tomboy.” She had studied a little Latin, so I always knew that in her story, she would run away, dressed as a lad, to make a life for herself that was very different than her beautiful sister’s. A university was the ideal answer.

What are your favorite historical research books and why?

Blythe: It always depends on the particular story. After four books, I’m relatively comfortable with 14th century food, clothing, travel, and customs. For this book, I had to delve into daily life at a university. Very different from court and castle! Some of my sources included The UNIVERSITIES OF EUROPE IN The MIDDLE AGES, by Hastings Rashdall, A HISTORY OF The UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE, Vol. 1, by Damian Riehl Leader, FROM BOYS TO MEN, by Ruth Mazo Karras, and The KING’S HALL, by Alan Cobban. Not light reading, but loaded with interesting tidbits when you dig.

Which character did you like writing about the most, and why?

Blythe: I loved both my hero and heroine in this story. I’ve told you a little about Jane. The hero, Duncan, is from the north of England. It’s wild and beautiful border land, but Englishmen from the south think barbarians live there! Duncan has had to prove himself to overcome the prejudice of their perceptions. He’s smart and strong and tries to protect everyone in his care, but there’s a softer side that he hides. That’s the side full of the pains of the past and the longings he won’t admit. But if you listen as he plays his gittern (guitar), sometimes you might be able to hear them.

Tell us about how you develop your characters. Do you create character sheets, do interviews, that sort of thing? How does your research affect your character development?

Blythe: I generally have a concept of who they are and how they need to grow, but writing for me is really a contact sport – I have to be in contact with the computer! So I throw them into a situation and see what arises as I write. Sometimes, if I’m stuck, I’ll do a first person stream of consciousness and that helps me get into a character’s head. Usually, I’ll have an “aha!” moment three quarters of the way through the book and I realize “so that’s why s/he is that way!” But research – in an historical, it’s like a magic wand! Whenever I’m stuck, I can go back to history and some nugget will emerge that helps move me to the next step.

In this book, that happened with the heroine. After I began writing, I discovered there really was a woman who attended a medieval university, disguised as a man, for two years. This was reported in an academic paper and the professor believes it actually happened. I was relieved to think that it was a plausible scenario. From that paper, I borrowed the event of how “s/he” was revealed to be a woman and that scene became a climactic, defining moment in the book.

What are some common speech terms, dress modes, transportation or housing facts that you found interesting for your time period?

Blythe: As a high school student, I avoided taking Latin, convinced it was a dead, useless language. Now, as I write medievals, I wish I’d studied it! In the University, students were to speak and debate in Latin, not just be able to read it. As for clothes, today’s cap and gown is a direct descendent of the medieval garb. One of the purposes of the long cloak and the hat at that time was simply to stay warm! I also learned that “trivia” developed from the Latin (there it is again!) trivium, the first three liberal arts a student must study. And because books were scarce, cursory lectures were those in which the master simply read a book aloud to the class. (Hence, a “cursory” understanding, or one that is just on the surface.) As for housing, I call the medieval hostel a “14th century frat house.” Some things don’t change much in 700 years.

Do you have any authors that inspired you?

Blythe: Many, going all the way back to Anya Seton, as I mentioned before. I loved Laura Kinsale, Penelope Williamson, and Megan Chance, but I think we’re in the midst of a Renaissance and there’s a wonderful new crop of historical romance writers to enjoy.
What do you feel is the most effective promotion you have done for your book?
Blythe: Chatting like this, I hope! Romance readers are the best fans in the world.

What do we have to look forward to next?

Blythe: My next story about a medieval royal bastard should be out in 2010. Date and title TBD, but this time, the story takes place on the other side of the border – I’ll be setting a story in Scotland for the first time.

Thanks, Blythe!

Blythe: Thanks for having me. The therapy has been great. I feel better already. And I invite everyone to visit me at I’ve a few more stops on my “Blog Until You Drop” tour and would love to see you. And also, please sign up for my e-list and I’ll let you know when the next book is out.

To celebrate her book release, Blythe is offering a signed copy of IN The MASTER’S BED to one lucky commenter on today's blog. She will be around all day today. I'm sure some of you have questions or comments for her, so please ask away...

After many years in public relations, advertising, and marketing, Blythe Gifford started writing seriously after a corporate layoff. Ten years later, she became an overnight success when she sold her Romance Writers of America Golden Heart finalist manuscript to Harlequin. Blythe lives and works along Chicago’s lakefront, nurturing her muse with art, music, history, long walks, good food and good friends. She loves to have visitors at:


* Cover Art used by arrangement with Harlequin Enterprises Limited. All rights reserved ®and TM are trademarks of Harlequin Enterprises Limited and/or its affiliated companies, used under license.

*Photo by Jennifer Girard.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Inquiring Minds--A brief history of Labor Day

For those of you with inquiring minds. We celebrate Labor Day with barbecues and family, but what does it really mean?

Founder of Labor Day

More than 100 years after the first Labor Day observance, there is still some doubt as to who first proposed the holiday for workers.

Some records show that Peter J. McGuire, general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and a co-founder of the American Federation of Labor, was first in suggesting a day to honor those "who from rude nature have delved and carved all the grandeur we behold."

But Peter McGuire's place in Labor Day history has not gone unchallenged. Many believe that Matthew Maguire, a machinist, not Peter McGuire, founded the holiday. Recent research seems to support the contention that Matthew Maguire, later the secretary of Local 344 of the International Association of Machinists in Paterson, N.J., proposed the holiday in 1882 while serving as secretary of the Central Labor Union in New York. What is clear is that the Central Labor Union adopted a Labor Day proposal and appointed a committee to plan a demonstration and picnic.

The First Labor Day

The first Labor Day holiday was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882, in New York City, in accordance with the plans of the Central Labor Union. The Central Labor Union held its second Labor Day holiday just a year later, on September 5, l883.

In l884 the first Monday in September was selected as the holiday, as originally proposed, and the Central Labor Union urged similar organizations in other cities to follow the example of New York and celebrate a "workingmen's holiday" on that date. The idea spread with the growth of labor organizations, and in l885 Labor Day was celebrated in many industrial centers of the country.

[Source: United States Department of Labor]

Kim Watters